Most of the books available from these sites are from the public domain. That means they are out of copyright and it also means they will usually be old. Well known classics abound but there are also children’s stories, mysteries, westerns, romances, science fiction, horror and more that have been forgotten by many but may find new fans.
Digital Books and a Bit More
Volunteer readers are busy narrating thousands of books from the public domain.
AudioBook Addicts: 100 Sites for Free Audiobooks
It looks as though there are quite a few sites that offer some more modern fare. It may be only a few things used as promotional freebies for the sites but at 100 places to visit you are sure to find something! Click on the bulleted sentence 100 Sites for Free Audiobooks it doesn’t really look like a link but it is.
Readers worldwide volunteer to read for LibriVox from public domain books.
This site provides both audio and ebook formats of public domain titles and is one of the earliest and longest-lasting online literary projects.
Spoken Alexandria Project
Site looks a little confusing as to pay or free but eventually you would find the “all free now” under the Top 25 page. Books are mostly from the public domain but occasionally you may find a more modern work.
Free classic literature and philosophy titles.
Free Downloadable eBbooks
Free public domain titles as well as free and discounted promotional titles from publishers and indie authors can be found there.
Baen Free Library
Baen publishes and sells popular science fiction and fantasy out of its own online store as well as other retailers but they have been at the forefront of believing that offering free promotional titles brings back purchasers. They have been offering the Baen Free Library for quite a few years now so it must be working.
While you are directed to Amazon for purchases this site will allow you to search for free books, or within a price range, genre, new on Kindle, or a time frame. It will even track books and authors for price drops and then send you an email about it.
UPDATE: This site is still up and highly useful but Amazon has removed its affiliate status and while the site is still free they may have a donations needed banner up.
There are free titles, primarily public domain, but some promotional titles from publishers available in the Google Play Store. Also available on iTunes and the Android Marketplace.
Internet Archive is the site with a bit more. The archive was founded to provide access to historical collections that exist in digital format. They encourage people to submit materials and have the view that in this digital age we are in danger of losing a great deal of cultural information. There is a section on genealogical texts, collections from the Smithsonian, and even microfilm collections. They not only host thousands of public domain books in their own e-book and e-text sections but also host the Open Library described below. They also provide links to many other sites providing primarily publically accessible research materials. The bit more is they also provide public domain feature films, television programs, commercials, old time radio shows, and various music archives, including Grateful Dead concerts, There are also image and software libraries. There is so much available it can be frustrating to search but worth it if you like what they offer.
ManyBooks can search for a great number of free public domain classics and offer a wide variety of formats to convert them to. They also offer links to free and deeply discounted promotional titles from traditional publishers and indie authors.
The Open Library
A project of Internet Archive, the Open Library is an interesting site. They have over a million free e-books, again in the public domain. What makes them interesting is not only the breathe of subjects that those one million titles might cover but also that they have partnered with various libraries to connect borrowers with over 250,000 titles of slightly more modern books. 100,000 of those titles can be accessed if you are close enough to one of those partnering libraries to be able to use their wifi to connect to the “library” Those who do not live near one of those partners are still able to access about 10,000 of those titles after registering at Open Library. It can be a little confusing so here is the link to their About Open Library page. You have to go down a bit but how to register is covered.
Perseus Digital Library
Maintained by Tufts University, Perseus is a large collection of primary source works in history, science and the humanities. Their particular focus is the Greco-Roman world but not limited to that.